The latest production of the Towne Players of Garner, Lend Me a Tenor by Ken Ludwig, might well be the ultimate opera spoof. In any case, it is a zany offbeat comedy about behind-the-scenes shenanigans before and during a world-famous Italian opera singer’s benefit performance to raise funds for a Cleveland opera company.
“One of our season members suggested I read this show,” says Towne Players artistic director Beth Honeycutt. “When I did, I thought it was hilarious.”
Honeycutt says the plot is intricate: “The world’s greatest tenor, Tito Merelli (Jeffrey Nugent), has come to Cleveland with his frustrated wife Maria (Beth Honeycutt) to open the season. Maggie Saunders (Janet Doughty), the daughter of the opera company’s manager (Tim Wiest), is determined to meet Tito. Her boyfriend Max (Brian Martin), who is himself a tenor, is equally determined to keep them apart.
“Chaos ensues,” Honeycutt says, “when Tito becomes too indisposed to go on. Mistaken identities, heroic impersonations, and amorous interludes follow. Frances Stanley as Julia, the president of the opera guild, Meg Dietrich as Diana, the soprano planning to sleep her way to the Met, and Rob Smith as Frank the bellhop, round out the cast.”
Honeycutt adds, “I love the ‘wackiness’ of this show. It’s silly and improbable but so darn funny, it’s hard to resist.”
Beth Honeycutt, who co-designed the set with technical director Jeff Nugent, says: “The set is a departure for us. It combines Art Deco and cartoon elements. The color inspiration comes from an eggplant I recently peeled!”
The Towne Players of Garner presents Lend Me a Tenor Friday-Saturday, Oct. 18-19, at 8 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 24-26, at 8 p.m. in The Garner Historic Auditorium, 742 West Garner Rd., Garner. $8 ($6 seniors). 919/779-6144. http://www.towneplayers.org/.